Brown Willy 2018

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G/DC-002 – The Long Way Round

On the Sunday I decided to have a go at Brown Willy up on Bodmin Moor.  Initially I planned to tackle it from the South following G4OBKs 2015 route.  I plugged the postcode into the satnav and set off to find the parking spot.  As soon as I got away from the coast and gained some height around St Austel I was into thick fog.  Approaching the parking spot from the South West the postcode I had took me along the A30, straight past the planned start and onto the next turning beyond.

As this was beyond the edge of my map I struggled to find the correct parking and start but eventually found what I thought must be it.  I parked the car and prepared to kit up for the days walk but immediately realised that I had forgotten to load my walking boots. Doh..

I set off anyway in my trainers but pretty soon realised things were not right.  Fortunately I soon came across a path closure notice with a location map and from this I worked out that I was definitely in the wrong place.  At this point I got the message that this was not to be so turned around and headed back to the car.  Fortunately I had also brought maps and a postcode for the Northerly approach as an alternative option so I plugged this into the satnav which said it was only about five miles away, I decided having got this far I may as well at least have a look at it. Shortly after I started driving the satnav changed it’s mind and told me it was actually about 20 miles away.  Ah well, at least the scenery would be pleasant if only the fog would lift!

Parking on the Northern approach is great.  There is a proper car park with room for about 50 cars located at SX 138 819.  From here there is a good track for a little way and on a clear day I think it would be possible to follow the track all the way to the summit, but with the thick fog I was unable to see where the track led at each twist and turn and as the track is not marked on the map I was forced to navigate by compass alone.

I took a fairly straight line towards the summit which was a mistake.  Reaching the river at SX 153 806 it was easy enough to cross but the ground on the other side is very difficult.  There is a proper crossing a little to the South which is what I should have headed for.  From that crossing there is a good path up to the summit which I followed on the way back down.

Reaching the summit eventually, still in thick fog, the wind was strong over the summit making setup difficult.  The aerial ended up pointing down under more than to the North East where I wanted it.

It took me a while to get the contacts, radio amateurs are sparse down in these parts, but I did eventually get the four I needed before packing up and returning to the car. On the return journey I followed the track down to the river crossing and managed to pick out the path back to the car park in the fog, a much easier route than the one I came in on.

It’s when you have a day like this that the planning and preparation pays off, and being willing to say no and turn back shows it’s importance.  The hill will still be there for another attempt on another day, make sure you are as well.  Be safe!

Journey Details

Date – 19th August 2018

Postcode – PL32 9QG

Parking – SX 138 819

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74 + 50W PA on 2m

Antenna – 2 ele yagi

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 4

SOTA points – 1

Group – Myself

G/DC-002 Log

Walking Route Summary

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[whohit]Brown Willy 2018[/whohit]

High Willhays 2018

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G/DC-001 – Devon High Point

After Christ Cross in the morning we wound our way along the minor roads onto Dartmoor for the main dish of the day, High Willhays.

Following M0BLF’s excellent instructions from his blog, we arrived at the parking spot without any problems (although his coordinates are slightly out, the parking is at SX 590 912).  With the extra height gained we were walking in cloud but there is a clear track all the way up so navigation was not a problem.  The cloud did lift later in the day for the return to the car.

I set the station up on the pile of rocks on the top of the Tor and soon enough had four contacts, although again once I had the four required there was no-one else waiting to claim the points so we packed up and headed back down to the car.  By this time the cloud had lifted a bit and we enjoyed a few glimpses into the distance.

Journey Details

Date – 18th August 2018

Postcode – EX20 1QP

Parking – SX 590 912

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74 + 50W PA on 2m

Antenna – 2 ele yagi

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 4

SOTA points – 4

Group – Myself, Belinda & Jacob

G/DC-001 Log

Walking Route Summary

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[whohit]High Willhays 2018[/whohit]

Christ Cross 2018

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G/DC-005 – Passing Pleasure

A family holiday down to Cornwall afforded the opportunity to bag a few new summits.  We stayed the night in Cullompton which meant we could avoid the Saturday morning traffic on the M5 and get an early start onto our first summit at Christ Cross.

There is space for one car on the side of the road at SS 965 050 just South of the junction.  It’s a short walk up the track to the summit.  There is no right of way over the track so you may need to seek permission for access.

There is plenty of room beside the radio mast to set up the antenna and if it’s a clear day there is a great view to enjoy whilst setting up.

We soon had four contacts in the log to qualify the summit, the fourth contact was remarkably into France with Alain down in Brittany.  Having made the contact Belinda took the opportunity to have a QSO with Alain as part of her Foundation training practical.  After this high point I called a few more times but was unable to raise any further contacts to we packed up and headed off to the next summit.

Journey Details

Date – 18th August 2018

Postcode – EX5 4HF or EX5 4LY

Parking – SS 965 050

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74 + 50W PA on 2m

Antenna – 2 ele yagi

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 4

SOTA points – 1

Group – Myself, Belinda & Jacob

G/DC-005 Log

Walking Route Summary

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[whohit]Christ Cross 2018[/whohit]

Long Knoll 2018

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G/SE-007 – Another wet one

After a long run of hot sunny days with temperatures up into the 30’s we were invited to a bbq with Peter in Westbury. I decided to bag Long Knoll whilst I was there as it’s only a few miles from his house.  After no rain for nearly 2 month unbelievably the forecast was for wind and rain!

Parking is a bit of a problem for this walk unless you park elsewhere and make it a longer day.  There is room for one car on the verge at ST 801 378.  We took this option and parked there before heading up the path onto Long Knoll itself.  The route up is very obvious and an easy climb with only about 90m of ascent to the top.

About a third of the way along are the remains of an old shelter which was fortunate as just as we approached this spot the rain came down really heavily, and with the wind blowing it was coming at us almost horizontally.  We sheltered behind the wall whilst it passed, whilst sat there I checked access back into the Swindon repeaters which were coming in at 5/9.  After a short QSO with Rob G4XUT the rain abated and so we continued on towards the summit trig point.

At the top it didn’t take long to set up the station.  There is a very useful fence right next to the trig point which made a good support for the antenna.  I soon had the required four contacts in the log and went on to complete another ten contacts for a total of fourteen.  Coverage was good ranging from Cowes to the South and up into Shropshire to the North with a couple of contacts into South Wales to the West and another into Witney to the East.  The highlight of the trip was adding Peter M6XPE to the log as the fourth contact qualifying the summit.  It was Peters first SOTA chaser point and his first QSO since passing his foundation exam.

The return back to the car was by the same route we came up along and we just managed to reach the car before the rain started again in earnest.

Journey Details

Date – 28th July 2018

Postcode – BA12 7HN

Parking – ST 801 378

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74 + 50W PA on 2m

Antenna – 2 ele yagi

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 14

SOTA points – 1

Group – Myself and Belinda

Log

Walking Route Summary

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[whohit]Long Knoll 2018[/whohit]

 

 

 

 

Walbury Hill 2018

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G/SE-001 – VHF NFD

VHF field day (NFD) seemed like a good time to activate Walbury hill again and at the same time enter the next backpackers contest.  Unfortunately when the day came around it did not work out as planned.  NFD started at 15:00 on the Saturday and almost immediately I heard a strong signal giving out the locator IO91gi which is Walbury Hill.  I quickly established who it was on the hill and realised there was no way I was going to be able to enter the backpackers contest from the same hill.  Instead, I relocated my backpacker entry to Granham hill nearer home and rearranged my SOTA activation for 15:00 on the Sunday when the NFD finished.

I met up with Ken at the car park for the walk up to the trig point.  Unfortunatly we were busy chatting and missed the gate into the field so had to backtrack a little.  The NFD station had set up near the trig point so we detoured over to say hello before heading for the trig point.  Once again I set up next to the trig point and soon had seven contacts in the log.  With the point in the bag I packed up and gave Ken a hand trying to operate on 20m before returning back along the same route we arrived on.

Journey Details

Date – 8th July 2018

Postcode – RG17 9EL

Parking – SU 370 620

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74 + 50W PA on 2m

Antenna – 2 ele yagi

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 7

SOTA points – 1

Group – Myself and Ken

Log

Walking Route Summary

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[whohit]Walbury Hill 2018[/whohit]

 

Scafell Pike 2018

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G/LD-001 – Scafell Pike

Another classic.  Ascending from the car park at the top of Wast Water, up via the tourist track.  Weather was a bit better than the previous day with some breaks in the loud at times.

It was busy on the way up with a number of large groups slogging up and blocking the path so not the most pleasant route.  At the top there were a fair number of people around so again I didn’t bother to set up the main antenna but instead just activated it from the rubber duck on the handheld.

I soon made seven contacts before heading back down.  As an alternative we tried to find the route down via Mickledore and Broad Stand but ended up coming back onto the tourist trail as that route was in thick cloud.

Journey Details

Date – 17th June 2018

Postcode – CA20 1EX

Parking – NY 182 074

Radio – Wouxan KG-UV6D

Antenna – Nagoya rubber duck

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 7

SOTA points – 10

Group – Myself & Peter

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[whohit]Scafell Pike 2018[/whohit]

Helvellyn 2018

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G/LD-003 – Helvellyn

Helvellyn via Striding Edge. A lakeland classic, it needs no introduction.  Starting from the main car park in the centre of Glenridding, up via Striding Edge around the top and back down via Swirral Edge.

Even though we did the walk in June it was still wet and windy on top.  Visibility was no more than 50m and the views were non existent.  I didn’t set up the main antenna as I was able to qualify just using the rubber duck on the handheld.

Journey Details

Date – 16th June 2018

Postcode – CA11 0PD

Parking – NY 386 169

Radio – Wouxan KG-UV6D

Antenna – Nagoya rubber duck

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 4

SOTA points – 10

Group – Myself & Peter

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[whohit]Helvellyn 2018[/whohit]

Seat Sandal 2018

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G/LD-022 – Seat Sandal

Seat Sandal was a nice bonus summit.  We were meant to be driving home from the Lakes on the Sunday but I managed to slip this one in on the way past.

Parking is not ideal being on the side of the main A591 route through the Lake District but there is a lay by with room for a few cars.  If this is full there is another lay by on the other side or the road just to the North a little way.

Access is over the stile in the lay by and then follow the road North until Raise Beck.  Initially the path is not clear as there are many options created by the sheep.  Choose whichever seems the best option heading for the very obvious gully.  Once you reach the gully then just follow the wall up until you reach the remains of the old boundary fence,  This is quite obvious as it has bits of iron fence post still protruding from the ground.  Here turn right and follow the old boundary wall to the top.  There is a fairly easy, if steep, path alongside the wall to the top.

There is plenty of room at the top to set up the station, there is both a large summit cairn and a shelter, either of which are suitable.  On the day I did this summit it was also one of the 2m backpacker contest days so rather than calling CQ Sota I entered the contest.  I only had limited time on the top but managed to squeeze in eight contacts in half an hour operating during which time I logged stations as far away as the Isle of White and into Scotland.  See the contest map below.

Overall I was very pleased with this and only wished I had the time to work the full four hours of the contest.

The return route is simply a reverse of the route up so shouldn’t be a problem.  If you have more time than I did you may like to take in Grisedale Tarn which is just beyond the saddle.

Sheep trying to shelter from the rain

Although the weather was lovely for most of the day, half way back down the clouds gathered and after a nearby clap of thunder the heaven opened, needles to say by the time we got back to the car we both got absolutely soaked and what had been dry stream beds on the way up were now running off the side of the mountain.

Journey Details

Date – 10th June 2018

Postcode – LA22 9RS

Parking – NY 329 111

Radio – Wouxan KG-UV6D + 50W PA on 2m

Antenna – 2 ele dipole

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 8

SOTA points – 6

Group – Myself & Belinda

 

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[whohit]Seat Sandal 2018[/whohit]

Skiddaw 2018

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G/LD-004 – Skiddaw

A weekend in the Lake District and a chance to do a couple of Sota summits.  On the Saturday we went up Skiddaw. The weather was favourable forecast as a clear day with occasional showers and cloud above the summit.

We chose the shorter route, starting from the car park East of Applethwaite (CA12 4PH).  This can get busy so on a good day it’s worth getting in early.

The path up to Skiddaw summit is very obvious and well frequented.  You won’t travel up alone!

There is the option to also bag the summit of Little Man, I chose to do it on the way back down so bypassed it on the way up.

On a clear day as expected the views are stunning.  As you gain altitude Derwent water will emerge below you as the main summit of Skiddaw appears above you.

 

At the summit there is plenty of room to set up the station.  I found a spot to the NE of the cairn with just enough grass to get the pegs into.  The summit will be busy so it is best to be far enough away from it so as to not annoy other visitors.

There was plenty of activity on the bands and I soon had eighteen entries in the log including a couple of summit to summits.  All to soon it was time to pack up and after a bit of lunch to head back down to the car park.  On the way down I took in the summit of Little Man, not a Sota summit but a nice bonus on the side.

On reaching the car park we were welcomed by the sight of a small van selling ice creams and soft drinks which was a welcome finale to a lovely day walking.

Journey Details

Date – 9th June 2018

Postcode – CA12 4PH

Parking – NY 280 253

Radio – Wouxan KG-UV6D + 50W PA on 2m

Antenna – 2 ele dipole

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 18

SOTA points – 10

Group – Myself & Belinda

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[whohit]Skiddaw 2018[/whohit]